Don't Miss Out On Exciting News!

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a free copy of Andromeda's Tear!
* indicates required
/ ( mm / dd )

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Trope-tastic Thursdays: (Defrosting) Ice Queen

Trope: Ice Queen (and its sub-trope, the Defrosting Ice Queen)

Description: The Ice Queen is aloof and, well, frigid. She may not want to get emotionally close to anyone, or it may just be men she disdains. There are a few different ways her icy qualities can manifest themselves, ranging from slinging nasty remarks at anyone who crosses her to simply coming across as emotionless and "cold". In romance, the hero strives to "defrost" her and win her over so they can embark on a relationship. 

(While not required, Ice Queens often have blonde hair and blue eyes.)

Examples: Katherine from The Taming of the Shrew, Hot Lips from M*A*S*H, many female characters in James Bond and Alfred Hitchcock movies

Pros: The Ice Queen is no wet blanket, and she usually just doesn't sit back and take any bullshit. She won't swoon over the hero as soon as he walks in the door - he's going to have to WORK for her affection. Comedic value is bumped up a notch if she's the type to make snappy comebacks and sends the hero away with his tail between his legs. Even if we think she's a bit snotty, we frequently can't help but root for her and want her to find true love.

Cons: If not handled with care, this trope can veer sharply into "she needed a MAN to put her in her place" territory, or imply that she was a lesser human being until that man came along to defrost her. (Or tame her, in Shakespeare's case.) Another possibility is that there's some deep, dark, secretive reason for why the Ice Queen is so icy; it can be valid, or overly melodramatic (or both, I suppose). Also, if she comes across as too cold-hearted, it can be difficult for the audience to like and relate to her.

Would/Did I Use It?: Eh. I have mixed feelings about this one, for the reasons listed in the "cons" list. For me, it's definitely one of those tropes where I can enjoy it if it's used well, but it's VERY easy to slip up and create either an unlikable character or a storyline where the more feminist-minded readers are rolling their eyes. I have written a few Ice Queens here and there, but I don't think any of them had a particularly cruel, vicious streak when it came to the feelings of the people around them.

No comments:

Post a Comment